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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Re: WHERE and HOW to promote your cafepress shop!

Rodney has misunderstood the purpose of this post. I wonder what is the expectation here, the page has 3-4 links to my site, for of the reader to see what I have done and get some ideas. There is no mention to buy my stuff or even to the quality of the stuff. If this is considered self-promotion then why we allowed to put signatures under the messeges. What if someone logs in here and posts: hey I have found a great site that has valuable information, this can be anyone from the 100's of people visiting the link so far, would that be again self promotion? By who people I don't even know. What if the link under my name leads to that page? Would that be a reason to ban me from this forum?

Whoever needs the info can e-mail me.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Re: WHERE and HOW to promote your cafepress shop!

Ok due to the many requests for the link to the "WHERE and HOW to promote your cafepress shop" page, I have changed my second signature to that link so click there and you can visit the page.
This should also be no violation to the forum rule since we all allowed to have signature links.
 

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Hi Nassos, the link you posted was self promotional because you stand to benefit from the squidoo lens page you listed (affiliate links, links to your shop, etc).

As mentioned in the self promotional guidelines thread, you are welcome to add a link to your signature, but you can't post the link in a thread or say "hey, check out my signature".

If you have other questions about our rules on self promotion, please feel free to post them here. I have moved these 2 posts out of the thread because questions about forum moderation and policies need to be sent directly via the Site Feedback forum, or a PM/Email to me.

here is no mention to buy my stuff or even to the quality of the stuff.
Even though there is no text to "Buy My Stuff", there are links to your cafepress shop where you benefit from sales. That would be no different than linking directly to your cafepress shop in a post.

If this is considered self-promotion then why we allowed to put signatures under the messeges.
This is explained pretty clearly in our guidelines here:
http://www.t-shirtforums.com/showthread.php?t=1173

A signature allows someone to visit your site IF they are interested in what you have to say or what to buy your products or try your services. It is a "passive" way of self promotion and not an "in your face" type. By contributing to the forums, people are naturally going to visit your site to see what you do and what you have to offer. By posting messages like "check out this great article on my site", then you are actively promoting your article, which actively links to your shop and affiliate links to the CafePress book.

What if someone logs in here and posts: hey I have found a great site that has valuable information, this can be anyone from the 100's of people visiting the link so far, would that be again self promotion?
The link does have some valuable information, however it also does contain links that you benefit from. Because the page is hosted at squidoo and not your site doesn't make it less self promotional.

If someone else posted the link, it would probably be edited so that it is not a hyperlink, but the URL would be saved so people could still visit the resource.

I fully understand your intent is to help others. However, because the link contains your affiliate links and links to your shop, it also falls under self promotion.

Maybe you could pass the same information across in the forum without your links embedded and it would still have the same benefit to other cafepress shopkeepers?

What if the link under my name leads to that page?
That would be totally fine :)

Would that be a reason to ban me from this forum?
Noone mentioned banning you from the forum. I just ask that you read and follow our forum guidelines if you'd like to post here.

Any other questions, please let me know.

Thanks,
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok I also understand you are doing your job here and this is respected. I don't understand why when there are so many ways to work around a rule as you are suggesting above, why have the rule anyway. This looks more than the bureaucracy of the Roman Empire that a democratic place where people can share information. But I'm sure you are not making the rules.
In any case are you saying that I can repost the same original message without making the squidoo link a link but just a URL reference?

Thanks
 

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I don't understand why when there are so many ways to work around a rule as you are suggesting above, why have the rule anyway.
That's almost like saying, "why have laws against speeding if people still speed?" :)

We have guidelines in place to set the tone of how we want the forum to run. That is: without members having to wade through tons of commercial posts to get to the real information they are looking for. To create a forum where people can easily find information without having to worry about being "sold to" each time they post.

Every forum has their own set of rules and guidelines that they adopt to help them establish and maintain the type of forum they choose to run. Some forums don't allow ANY links or signatures, some allow as many links to your own site as you want and images and pictures in your signature.

We understand the need to promote a website and offer information. That's why we look to create "balance" by not allowing self promotional posts in the forum. Since we are a forum that is predominantly frequented by webmasters and t-shirt site owners, without the "no self promotion" rule, this forum would quickly become filled with less "informative" posts and more "visit my site" type posts.

Instead of getting rid of all methods of promoting a website, we've established designated areas for people to promote themselves. That way, people that WANT to see "ads" can specifically look for it, and not have to "wade through it" to get to the information.

Signatures allow people to find out more about/visit/support other members who they see on a day to day basis, posting helpful information. It allows them to visit a site on their own time without having to feel like they are being advertised to.

Our T-Shirt Gallery allows members to display their t-shirt designs and get more traffic to their t-shirt shops.

In the member introductions area, members can announce themselves and post a link to their business. Members can also get their site or design reviewed in the Reviews forum.

There will always be ways to work around all rules and laws, and there will always be people who try to bend the rules. I personally don't think this negates the reasoning for having rules and guidelines. When someone tries to circumvent the rules, then corrective action is taken. It works better if people just read the rules and decide whether or not they want to participate in a forum with that ruleset.

In any case are you saying that I can repost the same original message without making the squidoo link a link but just a URL reference?
As I said, since you benefit from the squidoo lens page (by your affiliate links on the page, the links to your shop, and any royalties paid by squidoo), it would be against the guidelines for you to post a link (hyperlinked or not) to that page.

In general, when people are helping other members in a forum, they post the actual information in the topics they create instead of giving a big lead in and then linking them to another webpage.

If the post doesn't make sense anymore without the link to your squidoo page, and you don't want to field requests for "the link", I would be happy to remove the topic completely. Then you can decide whether or not you want to post your helpful resources in the forum, or just skip it all together.

You could also just contribute to t-shirt marketing related questions as they come up in the forums. You seem to have a lot of marketing knowledge. The #3 method of "promoting" yourself on the forums is always the best:

3) Last, but definitely not least. Become a valuable member of the t-shirt community by contributing helpful (non promotional) posts and answers in the forums. Share your knowledge of the t-shirt industry or just ask questions that help get others involved in the discussion. As you become more helpful in the community, people are more likely to follow your signature links and patronize your business to help support other members.
 
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